Today's guest speakers will be Alison Paprica, former director at the Ministry of Heath; Sean Conway, distinguished research fellow at the Centre for Urban Energy (CUE); and Jennifer MacInnis, legal counsel and senior director at Ryerson's Applied Research & Commercialization dept.
On Tuesday, the Government of Canada released the Federal Budget and it includes new funding that will support university research. There are 151 active research grants at Ryerson, including projects that are funded through all levels of our government.
Amanda Gaspard is the director, Research Communications
MacInnis says that during this time, the government realizes that they have a lot of money leftover and this is the researchers' opportunities to file unsolicited proposals.
Paprica begins with some grant application basics.
Paprica emphasizes the importance of writing your applications in plain language. She says policy makes to talk more about what it will look like at the end, because they will trust you more on the high thinking process to get to the end result.
Funders want to know that you are capable of achieving the results you promise. She says this is where your research partners can come in, so make sure to outline the support they can give you.
Paprica says don't over emphasize the limitations. Present the main limitations, but don't confuse the policymakers by going too in-depth.
Sean Conway takes the podium.
Conway is a distinguished research fellow at the Centre for Urban Energy. He advises that relationships matter when going through the process of working with government funders.
Conway says don't assume that they know everything you know, so make sure that as a researcher, find out something about the context and the people your research involves.
Conway ends his remarks by emphasizing that as a research community can have a much more influential role in shaping society.
Conway says that in his experience, the really good proposals aren't afraid to reform and change their research focus to be in line with the funders they are appealing to.
Paprica says your primary objective is to build engagement first. Conway says you have to strategize and make sure that you invest in connections that will last more than one quarter.
Panel is open to audience for questions.
With government RFPs, MacInnis says they are a bit more practical. The audience yo are writing to are not necessarily the experts that you are. That's why they are asking researchers to do the research. Don't use acronyms they don't understand. Don't use jargon.
MacInnis says in your proposal, don't talk about the money because that is a separate financial proposal.
Conway again emphasizes the clear articulation in describing the objectives of your research. Sometimes, people on a review panel are not technical experts. "That, sometimes, win the day more than I would ever expect it to," Conway says.
As the panel is closing, I will be talking to the main panelists. Stay tuned for their video clips.
PhD candidate Yasir Shoaid benefited from this panel, saying that it "clarified a lot of doubts" for him. He says that PhD candidates don't necessarily think about writing RFPs, so it was important for him to know that there were a lot of options to get funding for his research.